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Paranormal experts and monster hunters have been queuing up to give their interpretation of a mysterious "dark figure with no features" spotted in Ewell last month.

Scott Martin and his family were travelling home by taxi on Tuesday, February 14, at about 10.30pm when they saw the terrifying figure they have likened to the legendary Spring Heeled Jack dart across the road before leaping 15ft over a bank as they approached Nescot College on the Ewell bypass.



The couple, an accountant and a manager of a building company from Banstead, their four year old son and the taxi driver all reported seeing the same figure.

So spooked were the family that their son was too scared to sleep on his own that night while the taxi driver admitted he didn’t want to drive back alone.

Theories put forward to explain the apparition include the road being haunted, natural scientific phenomena and even that it was an alien life form.

Jack Bowman, 32, writer and director with the Wireless Theatre Company who produced a three part radio series on the legend of Spring Heeled Jack, said: "What absolutely intrigues me about this is that Spring Heeled Jack hasn’t been seen since 1986.

Related links
Terrified family confronted by 'dark figure' on bypass
"He’s pretty much been forgotten but here in 2012 he is being talked about again. I don’t for a second doubt that the family was terrified or what they had seen.

"He’s probably a physical phenomenon. He was witnessed by two people, a child and a taxi driver so he’s something physical which rules out any ghosts.

"A scientific explanation might be that he was an extra terrestrial entity for example and possibly an alien.

"If he came from somewhere with greater gravitational pull he would be able to jump higher."

Neil Arnold, 37, a self proclaimed full time monster hunter and author who has been investigating strange phenomena for 20 years, said: "I don’t think that what they saw has got anything to do with Spring Heeled Jack.

"He began life around 1837 pretty much around Kent, London and Surrey and basically attacked people.

"He dressed in very dark garb and a black coat. They said he used to spit blue flames in people eyes. Most of the time he would attack women, rip their clothes off and then run off.

"About three of four years ago I got a report of a woman driving when a dark figure walked across the road and she crashed her car to avoid it. I spoke to her and she was absolutely terrified. So witnesses are clearly seeing something.

"The trouble is that stuff happens all the time and it never gets explained.

"I would say if this was a normal person, something which seems unlikely, then we are probably dealing with a haunted road or road apparition of some sort.

"People used to say Spring Heeled Jack was an alien or a ghost. I’m not sure but I think he could have been a prankster which got out of control."

The original story was one the most read articles on our website epsomguardian.co.uk over the past fortnight.

One reader said: "The theory was that SHJack was an alien from a heavy gravity planet. No explanation in either case of how he got here.

"Possibly the planet he is from regards him as a criminal and he's sent here because he is as insane as we are.

"With only one of his kind here it would be a kind of hell."

Have you had a similar experience? Contact the newsdesk on 020 8722 6346 or email newsdesk@epsomguardian.co.uk

Source | Source



So, what do you think, guys. Real sighting? Imagination? Aliens?

For those unfamiliar, here's the Wikipedia article on Spring Heel Jack.

Date: 2012-11-08 07:40 pm (UTC)
thousanth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thousanth
I can't say I'm able to get behind the alien lifeform theories, but encounters like this out in the wilderness really do creep me out something chronic!

Date: 2012-11-08 11:52 pm (UTC)
melannen: Commander Valentine of Alpha Squad Seven, a red-haired female Nick Fury in space, smoking contemplatively (Default)
From: [personal profile] melannen
My first thought was "Wow, the quality of information we have about that sighting is really, really crap. I think I've been spoiled by reading UFO reports from the '60s, back when they didn't even have the internet but they still did the legwork."

Then I realized that I do have the internet and can do my own damn legwork. :P

So I went and google maps'd it. The only stretch of the Ewell Bypass (aka the a24) near Nescot College that has anything I'd describe as a 15ft bank on the correct side of the road, coming from Stoneleigh, is this stretch, about a km north of the college, near Nonsuch Park

Things to bear in mind: The "bank" in question is sloped at no more than 45 degrees, and the "central fencing", for most of the way, is a simple concrete guardrail less than 2ft high; and in the original quotations I've found, he's described as "climbing" rather than "jumping" the bank - neither of these are unreasonable for a normal human being, given what I'm seeing on Streetview;

The streetlights are in the center of the road, meaning that the sides of the road, and especially anything at the top of the bank, would have been very poorly lit - they would only have had good lighting when the figure was moving at full-speed in the centre of the road;

There's a pedestrian walkway along the road, and it's within a km of developed areas, so it's not totally unlikely there might have been a pedestrian, even at 10 pm in February - there's even a pedestrian crossing set up right about where I linked the streetview to start - and speaking as somebody who walks across 4 lane highways all the time, it might be an odd thing for Mrs Martin to see, but it's not that odd (...especially near a college).

That small stretch of road is also in what I would consider prime deer country, in my home area; I can't speak authoritatively for Surrey, but a small patch of open field backed by forest is exactly where I'd expect deer to be leaping out on the road, in February (and scaring the bejeezus out of me, too.) (Of course it's also prime country for man-wolf and ape-man sightings, so, hey.) The internet is divided on this issue - some sites are saying there are no more deer in Nonsuch Park, but then this warns to watch out for deer, so I shouldn't be surprised if there are deer there now, but they're rare enough to seem genuinely weird.

(the weather was cloudy and not too cold for february; the moon was in its third quarter - not sure what bearing that had on the sighting, except that it's fairly reasonable that animals and/or people would be out, and it's a useful thing to look up just in case.)

Given the above, and that the taxi driver didn't think it was that creepy, I'm going with "perfectly natural creature that startled them in the dark."

Date: 2012-11-10 11:03 am (UTC)
slippy: (flapjacks: how to)
From: [personal profile] slippy
The internet is a wonderful thing. Thanks for doing the work!

Date: 2012-11-14 05:20 am (UTC)
brigid: close up of my face a week or so post partum (Default)
From: [personal profile] brigid
Sliiiiiightly related, but Bad Machinery (http://www.scarygoround.com/) is currently doing a Slender Man/Spring Heel Jack-ish story. That's what I thought of when I saw this.

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